Council releases BeWILDerwood report after deciding not to appeal commissioners decision (From Knutsford Guardian)
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Council releases BeWILDerwood report after deciding not to appeal commissioners decision
CHESHIRE East Council has decided not to appeal an order made by the information commissioner that told the authority it must release a report about the BeWILDerwood project to a member of the public.
In January the Information Commissioner’s Office ordered the authority to release the 17-page document ‘Tatton Park Report pt 2’ after its officers rejected the request from a Knutsford resident in June 2012.
The request related to the council’s plans to build the BeWILDerwood playground in the park in conjunction with Bure Valley Adventures Ltd.
The council refused the document request from the resident on the grounds of commercial confidentiality and intellectual property rights.
But the resident then complained to the commissioner, and the office agreed that the council was wrong to block the document being released.
The council was set a deadline of today, Tuesday, February 12, to respond to that order but decided not to appeal the decision – and the report has now been released to the public.
The council told the Guardian that ‘as part of its commitment to open and transparent decision making, the council has chosen not to challenge the Information Commissioner’s findings that a confidential cabinet document should be released to the public’.
The council added that in rare circumstances, it felt it needed to keep sensitive business information confidential, initially, to allow negotiations to take place and get the best deal for local taxpayers and residents.
Cr Jamie Macrae, cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity and economic regeneration, said: “We understand the interest in this matter but we have taken the appropriate advice at all stages of the process and have acted fully within this.
“The Information Commissioner has accepted this but we felt it was important to clear the air, so that we could start a fresh and more positive conversation about the best way to secure Tatton’s future.”